Ranking the episodes of Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams

Electric Dreams, adapted from Philip K Dick’s short stories, was an anthology series offering a new take on a different science fiction concept each week. Tonight saw its sixth episode, concluding the series’ 2017 run – a further four episodes are scheduled for early next year. As with any anthology series, Electric Dreams had its highs and lows; here, then, is a ranking of each of the series’ six offerings so far.

Worth noting this is my ranking of the first 6 episodes of Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams, as they were broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK – The Hood Maker, Impossible Planet, The Commuter, Crazy Diamond, Real Life and Human Is, respectively. Though not in that order, obviously.

In short, I wanted to love them, but often found I didn’t. Generally, I found that the latter four of the Channel 4 broadcast were actually better than the initial six, though I’ve never really written about any of them. I’d like to go more in-depth on them at some point, though – one possible, far off project I’d like to take a crack at would be a series of detailed essays on Black Mirror and Electric Dreams.

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The Crown Episode 6 review: Gelignite finally allows the drama to breathe

the crown gelignite julian jarrold netflix vanessa kirby claire foy peter morgan netflix

And, indeed, no series has been so convinced of its own self-worth, nor so focused on its place within the bigger picture.

You can tell that Gelignite is an episode with one eye on the future; the depiction of the press in this episode is undoubtedly set to be contrasted with that which eventually handles the story of Diana and Charles, whenever that eventually appears. As much as this episode works on its – and it must be said that it does – own, it quite clearly wants to be part of something larger.

However, Gelignite is also the first episode that has genuinely felt as though The Crown could be deserving of these awards – the one that’s justified the self-worth it wears so openly on its sleeve.

Another contender for my favourite episode; not, as with Act of God, because it wasn’t very good – rather because it was the first one that showed real potential, and some genuine character development. Not really a good thing that’s only being said of the sixth episode in a series of ten, mind you.

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The Crown Episode 4 review: Act of God is a poor man’s West Wing in 1950s England

the crown the great smog netflix john lithgow fridging peter morgan juliad jarrold churchill venetia scott

Accordingly, then, at times it feels as though it lacks nuance or subtlety – from discussions of Elizabeth’s duty to, in this case, deliberations on Churchill’s age and efficacy, it often appears very surface level. And, arguably speaking, it is – while there’s a lot going on, the workings of the drama are laid open and entirely clear for all to see.

Here, then, it’s very clear what’s going on – the death of Venetia Scott (Kate Philips) was telegraphed early, and entirely unsurprising when the moment came. It’s one of the few attempts on behalf of the episode to actually ground the story in terms of the impact of the smog on the public, rather than political infighting or royal squabbles.

And yet it was largely ineffective – not least because it was little more than a cheap fridging, as The Crown here falls into the old trope of killing a female character to develop a male one. It’s particularly lazy writing, made all the more evident by The Crown’s tendency to wear its themes on its sleeve.

This episode, man. Possibly the most irritating of them all, because it managed to be the one that was both the most engaging and the most exemplary of all the show’s problems. Arguably it’s my favourite – not because it’s good, but because it’d be very easy to write about. I could go on about this at length. It’s probably a good thing that CultBox tends to put a 500-word limit on these reviews, because otherwise I’d have written thousands.

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